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Old 01-06-2010, 06:23 AM
 
Location: Lake Gaston, NC
1,493 posts, read 2,129,569 times
Reputation: 2782

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I started researching airfare and schedules for a possible summer trip to the west coast (from the east coast). I recently used travelocity for air/hotel so I started there. Couldn't find a good cheap combination for outgoing and returning. I could maybe get a decent schedule for going but to match that with a decent return jacked the price way up. Tried orbitz and same thing. Out of frustration I went directly to a airline website and what a surprise, I could get exactly what I wanted in both directions for a much lower price than the on-line travel agent companies. What gives ? I don't do a lot of traveling so maybe I'm missing something. Was this a fluke or has it become better to go direct ?
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Old 01-06-2010, 06:28 AM
 
Location: Grove City/Columbus
212 posts, read 615,035 times
Reputation: 91
from the little bit of traveling I've done, I do the same thing. I check all the travel sites, airlines and kayak.com. sometimes the best deals are directly with the airlines, because they are not charging any 'hidden fees'. unfortunetely I don't have an answer for you but have experienced the same thing. I find I'd rather spend a little extra time doing the research and save me big bucks!
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Old 01-06-2010, 06:38 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,911,924 times
Reputation: 13245
It's better to go direct.

For awhile it was preferable to use consolidators, but that was the olden days back around Y2K time.

I still use search engines, especially ITA, Yapta and Kayak, but the bottom line is that it's better to purchase directly from the airline.

For awhile now I have been looking for good airfare to fly our kid to the States from Paris. I've looked at this or that route, some were cheapish but had so many stops here and there. I finally found a decent, unadvertised fare on Monday, on a direct flight on British Airways, and booked on the BA site yesterday.
This fare is *still* not showing up on ITA, Yapta or Kayak, but the kid said that the French sites have now found it.
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:36 AM
 
50 posts, read 538,974 times
Reputation: 65
I work in the Hospitality Industry...we use these Third Party Websites all the time to sell additional rooms for my resort...

Travelocity is a website that pulls information (for the most part) directly from their partners website...so, if you're looking to book a flight on American Airlines, they will typically pull those flights and fares directly from the AA website. (AA, of course, tells Travelocity which flights they can view though...so not all flights are available on Travelocity). There is not generally a discounted fare for booking on Travelocity.

Now websites likes Priceline or Expedia, these websites do get specific inventory from their partners at discounted rates. So, for example, American Airlines might all Expedia to sell 5 seats on these select flights at this discounted rate. Partners can choose exactly how much inventory to allow Expedia, etc. to offer.

The thing with booking on these Third Party Websites... you may get a discounted fare, but you'll generally have to pay a Fee to book on their website. Then, if you ever need to make any changes, you HAVE to go through the website Customer Service...so you can't call American Airlines directly and make a change, you'll HAVE to call Customer Service at Expedia.com to make a change. And again....they only have limited inventory with American Airlines, so this can be tricky in some cases...

Also, when booking on Third Party Websites, you will typically NOT be able to earn Loyalty Points. So...if you're an AAdvantage Member with American Airlines, you cannot earn Air Miles for any flight booked with Expedia. Same goes for hotels... if you book a Marriott Hotel through Expedia, you cannot earn Marriott Rewards Points for your stay.

I agree with the previous poster....I use Expedia, Kayak, etc. all the time for my personal travel needs. However...I use these websites as research....you can compare prices and availability of several different flights, hotel options, cars, etc. When I'm ready to book, I ALWAYS book directly with the Airline, Hotel, etc.

One other thing to keep in mind...with Rate Integrity so important in the Hospitality Industry right now, you will often find the same OR LOWER prices on the Partner's own Website!! A lot of airlines, hotels, etc. offer Website-Only pricing on thier website...rates that are ONLY available through their website, they are NOT available on Expedia, etc.

Any hotel, airline, etc. wants you to book through their direct website versus booking on Expedia, etc. WHY? Because they have to pay a commission to that Third Party Website for every booking. So...if you book a hotel through Expedia for a stay at a Sheraton Hotel, Sheraton has to give a kick-back to Expedia for that reservation. So...not only did you book a low rate by booking through Expedia, but now the hotel is making even LESS money on your reservation by having to pay money back to Expedia! (Hotels will offer these low rates on these websites to get the OCCUPANCY they need, even if they have sacrafice a little Revenue in doing so) Why not offer the same rate on their own website, where it costs SIGNIFICANTLY LESS to confirm your reservation, and they don't have to pay a kick-back to a Third-Party Website?

OK...I hope I've helped to explain these Trade Secrets to you. I've overloaded myself with information in this post

Happy Travels!
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:45 AM
 
Location: Lake Gaston, NC
1,493 posts, read 2,129,569 times
Reputation: 2782
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buns View Post
I work in the Hospitality Industry...we use these Third Party Websites all the time to sell additional rooms for my resort...

Travelocity is a website that pulls information (for the most part) directly from their partners website...so, if you're looking to book a flight on American Airlines, they will typically pull those flights and fares directly from the AA website. (AA, of course, tells Travelocity which flights they can view though...so not all flights are available on Travelocity). There is not generally a discounted fare for booking on Travelocity.

Now websites likes Priceline or Expedia, these websites do get specific inventory from their partners at discounted rates. So, for example, American Airlines might all Expedia to sell 5 seats on these select flights at this discounted rate. Partners can choose exactly how much inventory to allow Expedia, etc. to offer.

The thing with booking on these Third Party Websites... you may get a discounted fare, but you'll generally have to pay a Fee to book on their website. Then, if you ever need to make any changes, you HAVE to go through the website Customer Service...so you can't call American Airlines directly and make a change, you'll HAVE to call Customer Service at Expedia.com to make a change. And again....they only have limited inventory with American Airlines, so this can be tricky in some cases...

Also, when booking on Third Party Websites, you will typically NOT be able to earn Loyalty Points. So...if you're an AAdvantage Member with American Airlines, you cannot earn Air Miles for any flight booked with Expedia. Same goes for hotels... if you book a Marriott Hotel through Expedia, you cannot earn Marriott Rewards Points for your stay.

I agree with the previous poster....I use Expedia, Kayak, etc. all the time for my personal travel needs. However...I use these websites as research....you can compare prices and availability of several different flights, hotel options, cars, etc. When I'm ready to book, I ALWAYS book directly with the Airline, Hotel, etc.

One other thing to keep in mind...with Rate Integrity so important in the Hospitality Industry right now, you will often find the same OR LOWER prices on the Partner's own Website!! A lot of airlines, hotels, etc. offer Website-Only pricing on thier website...rates that are ONLY available through their website, they are NOT available on Expedia, etc.

Any hotel, airline, etc. wants you to book through their direct website versus booking on Expedia, etc. WHY? Because they have to pay a commission to that Third Party Website for every booking. So...if you book a hotel through Expedia for a stay at a Sheraton Hotel, Sheraton has to give a kick-back to Expedia for that reservation. So...not only did you book a low rate by booking through Expedia, but now the hotel is making even LESS money on your reservation by having to pay money back to Expedia! (Hotels will offer these low rates on these websites to get the OCCUPANCY they need, even if they have sacrafice a little Revenue in doing so) Why not offer the same rate on their own website, where it costs SIGNIFICANTLY LESS to confirm your reservation, and they don't have to pay a kick-back to a Third-Party Website?

OK...I hope I've helped to explain these Trade Secrets to you. I've overloaded myself with information in this post

Happy Travels!
Thank you for your information, it helps understand the crazy world of travel a bit better.
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Old 01-06-2010, 03:47 PM
 
4,919 posts, read 19,850,813 times
Reputation: 6215
When things are right and smooth, who you get your ticket from isn't a big deal. But if things go wrong, direct with the airline or hotel gets much better results to fix the problem. I also like the loyalty factor. Bump the thrid party website person before me. Give me the nicer room before the third party website person gets it. Upgarde me before the thrird party person gets it. It also will get me a room, flight or car when they say they are booked.

Buns, I also heard that not every airline, hotel, car rental makes everything available to all the sites and sometimes you are not seeing everything that is available.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:17 AM
 
50 posts, read 538,974 times
Reputation: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by PacificFlights View Post
When things are right and smooth, who you get your ticket from isn't a big deal. But if things go wrong, direct with the airline or hotel gets much better results to fix the problem. I also like the loyalty factor. Bump the thrid party website person before me. Give me the nicer room before the third party website person gets it. Upgarde me before the thrird party person gets it. It also will get me a room, flight or car when they say they are booked.

Buns, I also heard that not every airline, hotel, car rental makes everything available to all the sites and sometimes you are not seeing everything that is available.
I totally agree with everything you just said! I don't want to say that some guests are more important then others, but some guests are more important then others! You are absolutely correct ... if you are a Loyalty Member for my Resort, you will absolutely get a Comp Upgrade before a guest who booked their reservation through Hotels.com does. Not that those guests won't get an upgrade, they just wouldn't be the at the top of the Priority List to get one.

It is correct, also, that not all Partners (be it a Hotel, Airline or Car Rental Agency) allow all of their inventory to be seen online by these Third Party Websites. You will always get the most availability through the Partner's own website.
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:08 PM
 
2,179 posts, read 4,342,344 times
Reputation: 977
I think Sidestep.com is a million times better than Kayak. If you just want airfare or a hotel (no package deal, use sidestep for everything. Typically the airline website is cheaper than any indirect website in my experience. I found if you want a package deal, Orbitz is the cheapest and I almost always could find a coupon code on retailmenot.
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